Sundog –noun 1. parhelion. 2. a small or incomplete rainbow.

Posts tagged “zen

Rainbows are Like Ninjas

This is what February 13th looks like from Hawaii at Waihe’e Beach, Maui. (pronounced why-hay-A)

We walked around the bend seen in this picture, then set our picnic down in our usual place. I turned around and was surprised to see this wonderful rainbow stretching the sky behind me.

The weather cleared to almost full sun, mid-70’s, and the water was warm enough for a long soak after a brief shock of cold when first diving in.

Waihe’e is one of our favorite beaches here so far. It’s a reasonable drive and usually quiet. Today it was just the two of us and a whale we saw breach the surface out past the reefs. The wave break you see in the photo (where all the white topped waves are) stretches a very long ways and provides a protected area for swimming, floating, and snorkeling year round.

So far at Waihe’e we’ve now seen many various aquatic life, a sea turtle, a monk seal, and the humpback whale.

A long, meditative rest followed by a good soak in the ocean left me feeling recharged and somewhat centered for the first time in weeks.

Waihe'e 2-13-2012 011 - BLOG

The new year has been one of great healing for me, but this is a painful healing of old emotional wounds, both from before I was ill and after, that have their thorns in daily life. It has left me drained and on the edge of slipping back into the crash of November/December. Though it is frustrating to have had only a week or so in early January where I felt as though the crash was finally lifting, it is hard to find fault when the culprit is healing.

Healing is not always easy or happy making, but as long as one is willing to embrace it, then with time you will find a rainbow has sneaked up behind you to brighten your day.

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Winter in Hawaii

I could not have imagined a winter as warm as this. Today has felt more like summer than it has winter. Around Christmas we had 3 weeks of Autumn-like weather – seems that was our winter!

Along with the warm weather is more air pollution in the winter from VOG – volcanic gasses which are heavy in sulfur. They tend to linger at times due to lower Trade Winds and cause the air to feel heavier, more polluted. How polluted? Well, I’d take VOG any day over all the wood smoke we’d have this time of year in Washington. Not to mention the presto logs – those things were toxic to be stuck downwind in their smoke! On the other hand, we are more sluggish on VOG days and it can cause headaches at night for me.

Sunshine – we are in the midst of a lovely period of sunny weather. Weeks of it even!

I remember in Washington we had two warm winters when the winds came up from Hawaii bringing sunshine and zero snow. We always daydreamed about how wonderful it would be to live someplace where it was always that warm – now that I’m here I must say it’s a fair bit warmer than I would have believed possible!

T-shirts and shorts are the norm and still you’ll find yourself a bit hot by noon. I love it!

In fact, I love it so much that I did something today which exemplifies winter in Hawaii better than anything else I could say at this point.

I went skinny dipping in the ocean!

It’s been years since I last stripped off my clothes and hopped into a body of water. Doing so today felt like gaining back a small part of myself which was lost when illness struck.

I may still be tired and sick, but I can swim naked in the ocean with the warm sun upon me like a younger me once enjoyed.

That makes me happy.


Take a Deep Breath, Now LEAP!

Today is my last morning with a computer before it too is packed away in a cardboard box and sent ahead of me towards my new home. Over the past four weeks, I have evaluated each aspect of life I collected around me – weighed and determined if it was valuable enough to warrant shipping or if I would finally part ways with it to lighten my load.

It is surprising how little I chose to keep.

I have always been a packrat by nature. This enthusiasm to keep things that might one day be ‘useful’ has still persisted even living in a tent year around, but what is useful here is not always the same as what is useful indoors in Hawaii. Certainly the sharp axe used to split small logs will be left behind, while our amazingly comfortable camp chairs have passed inspection and are already at our new apartment.

I find as our camp dwindles in clutter, a great deal of contentment begins to infuse my being. It is as though I am washing away a decade of grief and pain caused by a dramatic loss of health, family, and nearly everything I once was.

The woman who sits here today is a very different person to the one who walked into this exact camp site 7 years ago. Before now, I had never lived in a single place longer than a few years. How odd that I finally found the stability in housing I always longed for by living in a tent.

Am I scared of these new changes to come? You bet I am. It is all unknown – this will be the first time Jeremy and I will live outside of a tent on our own while ill.

But I am also hugely excited. Despite the fear, I will be stepping out of darkness and into the bright world beckoning me the last several years. I will walk with my head held high, the strength and courage I found in these dark years supporting me when my knees are weak with fear.

And so this is my last post from a tent – as always I am full of hope and determination to see myself and Jeremy walking forward into our future instead of looking back at our past.

Good bye tent. Hello Maui!


Imagine

Imagine living 20 minutes away from here:

Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui

Ho'okipa Beach Park, Maui

Imagine sitting one sunny afternoon on a sandy beach and watching the windsurfers play in the dancing waves:

Wind surfers at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui

Windsurfers at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui

Imagine feeling the spray misting from this meeting of rock and wave, blown by a sea breeze across your face:

Lava Rocks at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui

Lava Rocks at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui

As I sit here and imagine all this I begin to feel my eyes tear up with overwhelming emotion because for me this will be my reality in four weeks.

There is no doubt I am currently living a rare and beautiful moment in my life; when it feels like the heavens are shifting the world around me in order to lay a wondrous path at my feet.

My time is now.

My time is here.

Together, Jeremy and I are seizing this moment and riding the wave of change out from our tent and into a new life filled with sunshine.

These events are nothing short of miraculous and I thank the spiritual path I follow for guiding me here.


Winter Arrived Early

An early snowstorm and cold front brought some amazing weather this week. This time I decided to capture it on film!

Last week Planet Thrive published an article I wrote on how to survive in a tent during winter. I found the last few days entertaining as I had to live the same advice I had just written about … especially the times I blatantly went against my own advice! Such as eating half frozen paleo pancakes for dinner when I had no way to get warm afterward – but ohhhh, they were good!

While going through all this, I came across an article about Leonid Rogozov, a Russian surgeon who in 1961 had to remove his own appendix or die. Admittedly, it made me feel like my own experiences of the last 48 hours paled in comparison, but I also felt a kinship to him.

People tell me that they can’t imagine living as I do with these difficulties and hardships. And yet, the same drive to look outside the box for ways to survive and take them in stride is the same drive Leonid would have felt fifty years ago.

I wonder sometimes – is this imperative to live genetically coded in our DNA, or is it a function of something more ethereal and hard to define?

There are many people out there who quickly buckle under stress and become hopelessly lost in a crisis. What is different in my life compared to theirs that has prepared me to be calm and decisive under pressure? As far back as I can remember, I have always been this way.

When I was 9, there was a large earthquake in Los Angeles; it was my first. I went to school like normal and to me it was just another day, more exciting than most, but nothing to worry about. Later that night, my mom told me she had gotten a call from my teacher. I’d been so calm and helpful with the other kids who were crying wrecks, that on a hectic day she was impressed enough to take a few spare moments and tell my mom personally.

Have the same genetics that cause me to be toxically ill from everyday life also given me the strength to survive the devastation they cause? Or maybe the human spirit for survival resides in a less well defined place.

My accomplishments are less dramatic than the stories told of legends and heroes, but it is with these people that I feel a hard won kinship. It fills me with a warm joy and chases away some of the loneliness life has brought me, because I know my feet walk the same path theirs once did.

And I have to wonder, did they also feel the same loneliness that I do?


A Choice

In life we have choices. Choosing gives us power. When we are thrust into a situation in which we have very little choice, it can leave one feeling very powerless. Thus has been my situation for the many years I’ve been homeless in this very tent.

Until now.

For years we have tried to find a way out of our situation and seem to have only dug ourselves in deeper and deeper each time.

We tried to build a house – now we are in debt we can barely cover due to our increasing medical expenses, can not finish building because the majority of the money ran out years ago, and are now left with a half finished structure too toxic for us to live in.

Three years ago we started an intensive regime of supplements which did show much promise in healing us – then a misstep with adding just the wrong type of a much needed nutrient (b12) and all our hard regained health crashed around us in a matter of a few weeks. This was the instigator of the crash from which we are only just starting to pull out of finally, a full year later.

Stuck in a difficult situation, all the motivation in the world to pull yourself out of it yet chained to a body incapable of hardly even moving at times for the most basic of needs. Its enough to drive a person nuts.

While these last few months have passed by and our health declined further and further, all thoughts turned to escape from this situation, no matter the cost. I started rooting through all the ads for rental housing, day after day, looking for the “perfect” place for all our needs – super cheap, hardwood or tile floors, no fresh paint or remodeling, no pest control, no mold, no super close neighbors, no gas appliances, and a landlord willing to work with our MCS problems … in other words, looking for the near impossible.

Even assuming we found a place that matched everything, it would still have the possibility of not being right for us depending on the lifestyle of the last few tenants. If they had been incense burners, smokers, strong laundry soap users, heavy perfume wearers, or any number of other highly toxic aromatic things in daily life, then that too would rule a place out.

Yeah.. darn near impossible at this time.

And then a few weeks ago, Jeremy and I came upon a Choice.

We could keep going crazy looking for an exit to the cage we found ourselves in these last eight years or find within ourselves the key to dissolving the cage bars surrounding us and finally be free again.

I am not entirely sure how we found the ability to liberate our minds from the cage, thus freeing our souls, but I do know it started with a choice to stay.

All these years I never felt like it was by my own choosing to be here in a tent. It was always circumstance that forced my hand, left me no other options. Left me powerless.

As simple as it seems, we decided that barring unforeseen changes we would stay here for the next solid year, work very diligently and without deviation from a healing plan we wrote out that day, and most importantly – we made a choice to stop pacing the confines of the cage but to instead embrace the life around us as our own.

And with that we were freed.
Free Wild Horses


Happiness Award is Here!

I had a nice surprise yesterday. My friend Jody Smith over at Ncubator passed the Happiness Award on to me. Thanks for the award Jody, I shall see if I can spread some cheer in kind!

Without further ado – on with the show!

The rules for the Happiness Award:
1.) When you have received this award you must thank the person that awarded you this in the new post.
2.) Name 10 things that make you happy.
3.) Pass this award onto other bloggers and inform the winners.

Rule number 1 – check! Muchas Gracias la Senora Jody… and with many festive hugs!

Rule 2 – As it is my style to be ramble along, this may end up a bit longer than just 10 things. Hope the award doesn’t get revoked for me already breaking the rules! I’m such a rebel! In no order:

Native wildflowers with a wonderful scent.

Being surprised with flowers Jeremy finds and picks because he knows I love getting them.

Little race car, baby bunnies who dart back and forth under our tarps at night because its the only dry place to play.

A hot cup of cocoa made by my sweetie.

Planting onion seeds on May Day that a friend had sent from Australia, despite the customs restrictions against doing so. (no worries, they will not grow well enough to be invasive in the spot I garden)

Having more friends who are in foreign lands than those who are from my own country – no wonder I never fully fit in here!

My spirit rock.

A sun warmed rock to lay topless on and sing off key very loudly while soaking up the heat of a beautiful day.

Hearing the geese circling overhead while trying to figure out which way is North every spring. First gaggle of them was yesterday and it always means summer isn’t far behind!

Cuddling up with Jeremy to watch The Muppets together.

A really good movie that we have saved for a few months until just the right occasion to see it for the first time.

Poking fun at my friend Grant when we instant chat, he’s such a good sport about it! *Poke!*

Finding odd little animals, like salamanders and tree frogs, who make in front of our tent their home for a night before moving on the next day. I love having animals feel safe here for the night.

Silver dollar sized frog and computer cables.

Watching first the parent birds come to feed at our oat pile in front of the tent and then later the fledgling birds. Mom and Pop have to teach them how to eat and its exciting as they learn not to eat rocks but instead the food.

A hot shower outside while big, fat snowflakes are falling all around me. Along with this is listening to the hush of snowfall and watching it blanket the woods.

Jeremy reading to me every night before bed.

Watching my garden sprout from seed, grow, and then fill our bellies.

My garden two years ago.

Clear nights with many stars.

The rare days when I wake up feeling refreshed and good.

Daydreaming of all the things I will be able to do, because I will be getting well again.

Listening to the birds signing every morning. Also with this would be the owls hooting at night near us and coyotes howling at the moon.

Last for this list and saved for the end because it is the very best – Jeremy. All the wonderful things he does, his love and kindness, and his fight to never give up seeing us through everything that comes our way.

Rule number 3. I’ve had a bit of a hard time deciding who to pass this on to as I know several other bloggers who immediately sprang to mind for this. I will send this award on to Laurel of Dreams at Stake because she never stops fighting and keeps finding ways to pass that strength on to others.

That’s it for this brief… er… wander down the lane of Lisa’s happiness!